Leaving Samos to seek provisions, everything being now consumed, they were preparing to cross to Chios; this was the granary of the Romans, and thither all the cargo-boats from Italy directed their course.
Sailing from the city to the other side of the island —the side facing Chios and Erythrae is exposed to the north wind —as they were preparing to cross, the praetor was informed by letter that a great quantity of grain had come from Italy, but the ships carrying wine had been delayed by storms; at the same time it was reported that the Teans had generously offered stores to the king's fleet and had promised five thousand casks of wine.
When halfway across he suddenly turned the fleet towards Teos, intending either to use, with their consent, the provisions prepared for the enemy, or to treat the Teans as foes.
When they had turned their prows towards the land, about fifteen ships came into sight rounding Myonnesus, which at first the praetor, thinking they were from the king's fleet, started to pursue; then it was seen that they were swift and light pirate-vessels.
They had plundered the sea-coast of the [p. 371]
Chians and were returning with all sorts of booty1
when they saw the fleet from the open sea and turned to flight.
They were both superior in speed, their ships being lighter and designed with that in view, and nearer the shore; so before the fleet approached them they escaped to Myonnesus, and the praetor followed, thinking that he would lure the ships out of port, as he was ignorant of the place.
Myonnesus is a promontory between Teos and Samos. It is a hill shaped like a cone terminating in a sharp point from a fairly extensive base2
; from the mainland it has an approach by a steep path, on the side of the sea cliffs worn by the waves close it in, so that in some places the overhanging rocks rise to a greater height than do the ships which lie at anchor.
In this vicinity, not daring to approach lest they come within range of the pirates posted on the cliffs, they wasted a day.
When at length at nightfall they abandoned their fruitless undertaking, they came the next day to Teos, and stationing the ships in the harbour which is behind the town —the islanders call it Geraesticus —the praetor sent out troops to ravage the land around the city.